Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has installed a special strength-building German machine for the use of the country’s elite javelin throwers like Olympic-bound Neeraj Chopa and Shivpal Singh at the NIS-Patiala.
The machine, named Kraft Training Gerat or KTG (German for Strength Training Device), will assist the javelin throwers in developing their strength and speed. It will also allow them to throw along an ideal trajectory with little risk of injury.
Two such machines, which were assembled in China (but of German technology), were installed on Friday for the use of the likes of Chopra and Shivpal with less than two months to go for Tokyo Olympics.
“India became the world’s third nation after Germany and China to secure special machines to assist its javelin throwers develop their strength and speed,” the AFI said in a release.
“From early 2020, the AFI has been making a continuous effort to procure the equipment from China, but the outbreak of the (COVID-19) pandemic delayed the process,” it added.
The AFI said this kind of machine is being used by Germany’s 2017 World Championships gold medallist Johannes Vetter (personal best 97.76m) who is in tremendous form currently with a monster throw of 94.20m earlier this month.
“The device sled weighs 3.8kg and can be loaded with as much as 10kg for a maximum weight of 13.8kg. The sled is thrown for maximum velocity, measured between two preset points, and captured after each throw,” the AFI said
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said, “These machines are imported with great difficulties due to the pandemic. We wanted German technology and machines but the German company refused to give us these machines.
“We then found a Chinese company who was ready to sell these to us. I am happy that finally our athletes will be able to get the best training using this,” he added.
National chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said, “This allows athletes to develop throwing strength that is very javelin specific and believes that the machines will surely benefit India’s javelin throwers.
“They will soon start training on these machines under the supervision of German coach Uwe Hohn and biomechanics expert Dr Klaus Bartonietz.” Interestingly, Dr Klaus was part of the development team of KTG while Hohn was one of the first athletes to use this machine when it was first introduced in the 1980s in Germany (former GDR)
Dr Klaus, said, “Late elite javelin coach Karl Hellmann who coached greats such as Ruth Fuchs and Petra Felke had the initial idea. We then put our brains together to make a machine like this, I was part of the development team.
“The key for high release speed is the development of javelin specific throwing power. Lifting weights cannot do this. Athletes must accelerate weights, throw heavy stuff and you can do it on such a machine.” He, however, said the machine was not meant for young athletes.
“It is not a magic machine and it can spoil your technique. It is for training of elite athletes only under the supervision of proper coach,” explained Dr Klaus.